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USL Championship Playoffs Match Preview: #LOUvTBR

By Rowdies Communications, 10/25/19, 9:00AM EDT


The Basics
No. 4 Louisville City FC vs. No. 5 Tampa Bay Rowdies
Eastern Conference Quarterfinal
Saturday, October 26, 7 p.m. ET
Slugger Field, Louisville, Ky.
Follow us for live updates on Twitter at @RowdiesGameday

Postseason Format
This is a single-elimination match. If the score is tied after 90 minutes, two 15-minutes periods of extra time will be played in their entirety, regardless of any scoring that occurs during the extra time periods. If the score is tied following the conclusion of 30 minutes of extra time, the winner will be determined via penalty kicks. If the match advances to extra time, each team will be granted a fourth substitution.

The winner of Saturday night's match will advance to face the winner of the No. 1 Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC vs. No. 10 Birmingham Legion FC match.

How to Watch
The match will be broadcast online on ESPN+ here. International viewers can watch online here.

Fans are invited to a free watch party at Al Lang Stadium with gates opening at 6:30 p.m. Guests may bring in their own food and blankets to watch the match from the field. 

Tampa Bay: 16-8-10 (W-L-T), 5th place; 8-5-4 on road 
Louisville: 17-8-9 (W-L-T), 4th place; 10-3-4 at home

Last Meeting
The Rowdies visited Slugger Field just one month ago, a dramatic 2-2 draw on September 28. Louisville led 2-0 on goals from Paco Craig in the 35th minute and Napo Matsoso in the 79th minute. Things got worse for the Rowdies when Jordan Doherty was sent off in the 83rd, but a Sebastian Guenzatti penalty kick started the rally in the 87th minute. The night was capped by Lucky Mkosana's equalizer just two minutes later as the teams drew for the second time this season.

Rowdies Notes
The Tampa Bay Rowdies head to Louisville to open their 2019 USL Championship Playoffs run at the home of the two-time defending champions. This is the fourth time in 10 seasons of Modern Era play that the Rowdies have qualified for the playoffs and the second time in three seasons since joining the USL Championship. The Rowdies entered the 2017 USL Championship Playoffs as the No. 3 seed and were eliminated in the Eastern Conference Semifinals with a 2-1 loss to New York Red Bulls II after extra time.

The Rowdies are the No. 5 seed this year after falling into an inconsistent run of form for most of the second half of the season. At the halfway point of the year, Tampa Bay had a record of 10-1-6 (W-L-T) and sat in first place with 36 points from 17 matches. The Rowdies earned 22 points from their final 17 matches to slip to fifth place at the end of the regular season. Fifth place is tied for the lowest the Rowdies have been since sitting in 7th place after a win on the opening weekend of the season.

Despite the second half slump, it was a record-setting regular season for the Rowdies. Tampa Bay's 16 wins this season are a Modern Era club record for wins in a season, as are the Rowdies eight road wins this year. The 2019 Rowdies earned 58 points, surpassing the 53 points won by the 2017 Rowdies for the most in a Modern Era season. This is the first year the Rowdies have posted a goals-against-average lower than 1.0 at 0.97.

Sebastian Guenzatti leads the Rowdies in scoring this season with 18 goals, good for third-best in the USL Championship and a new Modern Era Rowdies regular season record. Juan Tejada and Lucky Mkosana both have 10 goals this year, including four Mkosana scored for Louisville City before being traded to the Rowdies in June.

Caleb Richards, on loan from Norwich City FC, was the only player to appear in all 34 matches for the Rowdies, amassing 3,058 minutes of action in league play. He missed just two minutes of play all season.

Tampa Bay will be without forward Malik Johnson this week after he was cautioned twice and sent off in last weekend's regular season finale against the Hartford Athletic.

Injury Report
QUESTIONABLE - Dom Oduro (ankle)
QUESTIONABLE - Leo Fernandes (hamstring)

Malik Johnson (booked twice last match)